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REPRISAL RIVALRY REVENGE; 'Gangster killed half-sister in bungled attack on enemy'.

Byline: STEPHANIE BUSARI

A GUNMAN on a mission of "revenge and reprisal" murdered his half-sister in a botched drive-by shooting, a court heard yesterday.

She was cut down in a hail of bullets from a sub-machine gun.

The attack had been planned to kill a member of a rival gang.

But instead of killing their intended victim, Marcus Ellis, 24, and his gang allegedly shot dead his half-sister Charlene, 18, and badly wounded her twin Sophie.

Their pal Letisha Shakespeare, 17, also died on January 2, 2003 and Cheryl Shaw, 17, a cousin of the twins, was wounded.

Timothy Raggatt, QC, prosecuting, said: "This incident had within it a clear motive - revenge, reprisal and rivalry.

"The intention of those who took part was to kill.

"It may not have been the desired consequence that Letisha and Charlene died or that Sophie and her cousin were injured.

"The killers may not have desired that result but the fact they desired to kill someone is almost beyond question."

The QC said that although Ellis was half-brother to Charlene and Sophie they were not close.

Mr Raggatt added: "They may have met on a sparse number of occasions. They shared a father, Arthur Ellis. They were related by blood but barely anything else."

Ellis and four defendants - Nathan Martin, 25, Rodrigo Simms, 20, Michael Gregory, 22, and another 22-year-old man who cannot be named for legal reasons - had targeted Jermaine Carty, 24, among a group of men who were standing near the girls outside a party at the Uniseven hairdressing salon in Aston, Birmingham.

Carty is alleged to be a member of rival gang the Johnson Crew.

Mr Raggatt said the five attackers belonged to the Burger Bar Boys and explained there was a gang culture in the parts of Birmingham they lived. The QC told the jury at Leicester crown court they would later hear from gang insiders who were moved by their disgust to give evidence against the men.

He said: "If you have to ask yourself why is this witness here, one of the things you might want to remember is a simple English word called conscience."

The QC dismissed suggestions that Charlene, Sophie, Cheryl and Letisha had been involved in gangland activities.

He said: "These girls are in no sense part of the gang culture but are in every sense victims of it."

The twins and Cheryl had performed together in musical group The Bombshell Ladies, he said.

Mobile phone records and CCTV cameras helped police track the killers and link them to the red Ford Mondeo used in the attack, the court heard.

Mr Raggatt said a phone used by Gregory made its last call in the early hours of January 2, 2003, just after the Mondeo was torched in nearby Smethwick.

He added: "Its disappearance after what occurred speaks volumes."

Martin and Gregory both had a strong motive for the attack, Mr Raggatt told the jury.

Nathan Martin's older brother, Yohanne, had been shot dead by - Nathan believed - members of the Johnson Crew in a "shattering event" for the Martin family.

And Yohanne was in a "brother-in-law situation" with Gregory.

Police later filmed Nathan Martin and Gregory visiting Yohanne's grave together.

Gregory, Ellis, Nathan Martin, Simms, and the 22-year-old, all from Birmingham, deny murder and attempted murder.

Carty, of Birmingham, denies two charges of possessing an unlawful weapon with intent.

The trial continues tomorrow.FIVE IN THE DOCKTHE jury was shown photographs of the defendants. Timothy Raggatt QC, prosecuting, explained their backgrounds.

NATHAN MARTIN

Alleged to go by the street name 23. His brother Yohanne, who had the name 13, was killed on December 6, 2002. The circumstances of his death are said to be a motive for the drive-by killings in Aston on January 2, 2003.

MICHAEL GREGORY

Said to be known as Chunk because of his size and to have had a close association with the Martins. His sister was Yohanne Martin's partner and mother of his child.

MARCUS ELLIS

Went by the street name E-man and said to be a member of the Burger Bar gang. Ellis was the half-brother of Charlene Ellis and her twin, Sophie. But despite sharing a father, Arthur Ellis, they were not close.

RODRIGO SIMMS

Know as Sonny or SS. His sister, Selina, organised the party at the Uniseven salon. "

JERMAINE CARTY

An alleged member of the Johnson Crew, rivals to the Burger Bar gang. "Territoriality" was a feature of the gang culture, said Mr Raggatt.

CAPTION(S):

INNOCENT: Pals Cheryl, Charlene, Sophie and Letisha on a night out; LETHAL: machine gun
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 11, 2004
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